Take a time-lapse peek at the U-2 Dragon Lady spyplane broken down for inspection

Check out this incredible video showing a U-2 Dragon Lady spyplane stripped down to its bare nuts and bolts for inspection.  It's a tedious process that requires Lockheed Martin mechanics and technicians to disassemble and refit more than 1,800 separate parts   All operational U-2 planes receive complete part-by-part overhauls every 4,700 flight hours.  More than 40,000 rivets, plus the fuselage, get inspected, repaired or replaced if needed, then are repainted and reassembled to achieve and ensure the sterling mission record of the intelligence agency's toy.

First developed at the height of the Cold War during the Eisenhower administration, the U-2 spyplane has been one of the workhorses for the military's high-altitude surveillance programs for more than six decades, and was made famous by the 1960 Francis Gary Powers incident in which a Russian surface-to-air missile shot one down over the Soviet Union.  Basically a giant matte-black glider with a powerful jet engine, its maximum range is more than 3,000 miles, with an astonishing altitude ceiling of nearly 75,000 feet, all while carrying a 700-pound payload of reconnaissance equipment.

Take a look at the painstaking process in the video below, and don't complain next time you have to change the air filter in your family truckster.


(Via Gizmodo)


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